How could I not review a product called ‘It Works!’
The name is so full of promise and exhilaration! Having been given to hyperbole for most of my adult life, I can appreciate when a product gets super excited over itself. But does It Works! really work to detoxify, tighten, tone, and firm like the company says it does? That’s the million-dollar question!
Please keep in mind, all you people who are going to send me hate mail because I haven’t tried The It Works! System™ myself: My reviews investigate the claims and the science behind diet programs, not the efficacy. Meaning, I’m not assessing if the diet works, but more if it’s sustainable, if it’s based on solid (not crappy, or none at all) science, and if the company’s claims are bogus when compared against research and basic physiology. Whether the diet works is a moot point, because most of the diet programs I review will work for the short term. The issue is that most of them (okay, all of them) don’t work for the long term because they’re completely unsustainable and they’re based on BS. Anyone can lose weight by cutting calories for a few weeks. Get back to me in a year and let me know how that Isagenix/Whole30/Juice Plus is going.
So now that I’ve gotten that over with, back to It Works! (otherwise known as That Crazy Wrap Thing)
The mastermind behind It Works! Is Dr. Don Verhulst, who is an MD, but it’s unclear if he has ever actually practiced as a medical doctor who does patient care. I’m pretty sure watching this YouTube video of him will cause you to shake your head in dismay (great tan! No, just kidding). In case you’re wondering, he practices biblical health care, and calls himself a ‘biblical nutritionist’. But instead of dealing with sheaves of grains, measures of flour, and pasture-fed oxen, Dr. Verhulst is peddling Thermofit and Greens. What? I don’t remember the bible mentioning It Works!
This guy makes some pretty wild statements on his website, including:
Pork is dirty and ‘Pork meat rots from the inside out’ because pigs eat everything. (Pork rots the same way as every other meat. He then goes on to recommend ‘MSG-free breakfast links’ in another article…most breakfast sausage is PORK! )
‘You don’t have to be exclusively vegetarian’ (that’s true, but why discourage people from a plant-based diet? He then goes on to recommend an It Works! supplement with cactus fiber, which ‘soaks up’ excess fat that you eat in meat. Total nonsense!!)
‘Apples detoxify your body’ (what the what? Is a credible healthcare professional with an MD making this outrageous claim?)
‘Greens alkalize your body’ (any doctor should know that what you eat does not affect your acid-base balance)
Dr. V. promotes a different It Works! product in every article he writes on his blog. It’s so disingenuous, it’s not even funny. All he seems to care about is writing articles full of junk science to sell a product. Red flag.
The It Works! System™, which is sold by (surprise!) MLM ‘wraprenours’, consists of three items: the Ultimate Body Applicator™, Greens™ (I’m not sure how they can trademark the word ‘greens’, but okay), and Ultimate ThermoFit™. You even get an It Works! Blender bottle with your order! YESSS!
The entire It Works! System™ costs $180 when you buy it online, and apparently this is a steal of a deal. The retail price, says the website, is $300. Yowza!
The reviews on Amazon of It Works! are mixed, but in a way that’s 50% more bad than good. On Amazon and other sites with It Works! reviews, I saw a lot of distributers commenting on the negative reviews, trying to convince the original commenters that their experience wasn’t typical. The distributers/wrapreneurs would then give their email addresses to the commenter and try to convince them to try It Works! again. Seriously?
The research behind It Works!…..wait! there is no research! Silly you, did you really think there’s credible science behind It Works!? But there are testimonials, and I’ve posted a few of the best..I mean, the most telling…with my comments in italics, below.
The natural ingredients loosens the fat up and the water flushes it out through the system. (um, no. That’s not how your body works. Nothing this weak loosens fat)
The ingredients promote Lipolysis. This literally means “fat-breaking”. The plant extracts and botanicals get into the fat cell and chop up the large fat molecules into little ones, which are now allowed to leave the cell. They are then burned up as energy somewhere else in the body, which is one reason why we want you to be well hydrated while you are using the applicators. This will help circulate the little fat molecules that are being released. This is HUGE and very important to know because the applicators (Body Wraps) are literally promoting FAT LOSS during this process! (that sounds amazing! And so very science-y, except for the part about fat molecules being chopped up. Truth is, it’s going to take hard work, not botanical BS that’s rubbed or wrapped onto your skin, to get rid of fat. These wraps do absolutely nothing to promote fat loss)
The ingredients also release toxins from the fat cell. A major function of fat cells is to store toxins, so if we can release toxins, then we can achieve a shrinking of the fat cell. (actually, a major function of fat cells is to store FAT. Some environmental toxins are stored IN that fat, but they don’t contribute to body weight, so ‘detoxing’ (whatever that means) won’t shrink your fat cells or help you lose weight. Nice try though – points for creativity!)
They have an anti-inflammatory effect. Fat tissue is terribly inflamed because of all the toxins and such. (inflammation deep in the body isn’t reduced by something botanical that you rub into your skin. And…such? Like, such what?)
It’s just a wet paper Towel the most expensive paper Towel I’ve ever bought. (good one)
I have a lot of friends who sell this and I have one question… And I’m worried about asking my friends who sell this stuff for fear of offending them… Here is my question: to all my friends who sell this weight loss and body toning bru-haw, why are you all FAT? (no comment)
Let’s take a look at what all of this entails:
The Ultimate Body Applicator™:
This wrap is the foundation of the It Works! System™.
The Ultimate Body Applicator™ (that sort of sounds like a feminine hygiene product, sorry) consists of a cloth wrap that’s infused with a ‘botanically-based formula’. It’s $83 and has four applications in the box – so basically 12 days’ worth. Spending $83 every 12 days sounds expensive, doesn’t it?
In addition to the Ultimate Body Applicator™, It Works! tries the ever-present upsell with the $61 (retail $102! Bargain!) Ultimate Defining Gel™, which apparently deeply hydrates and tightens your skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite and varicose veins. There’s also the $12 (retail $20!) self-clinging Fab Wrap™, which apparently helps the Ultimate Body Applicator™ fit flush to your skin. Wait, doesn’t the Ultimate Body Applicator™ come with some sort of bandage wrap? I’m not sure of the answer, but really, for $83 it should.
So really, you can load yourself up with $156 worth of wrap stuff, but what exactly is happening when you wrap yourself up?
It Works products have such long lists of ingredients, all with their botanical names, you’d think they do that on purpose to discourage people like me from looking them all up and checking out all the research on each single ingredient.
Too bad, It Works! I’m not afraid of hours and hours of research! My findings are at the end of this post. I’ve pulled out the botanical ingredients of these wraps and the best relevant research studies that I could find on each one.
Remember – It Works wraps go ON your skin, not INTO your digestive tract – so while something may have evidence for ingesting it, that’s not the same as rubbing it on your skin. And FYI – just because something is marketed as ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it’s healthy or okay to use.
Basically, the Ultimate Body Applicator™ infuses botanicals into your skin that may make your skin tighter and conditioned, however temporarily.
Using plastic wrap, ‘tight clothes’, or Fab Wrap™, the Ultimate Body Applicator™ is applied and held onto your body for at least 45 minutes, every 3 days.
I guess expectations with It Works! need to be managed, because if you’re expecting to lose weight and keep it off with It Works!, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree.
Wrapping your body may make you appear slimmer temporarily, because 1. You’re sweating out some fluid 2. You’re essentially – depending on how tightly you’re wrapping that thing around you – compressing your tissues and 3. The ingredients in the wraps may make skin look smoother – but again, only temporarily.
Are you getting what I keep on saying? The word temporary! Unless you plan on wrapping yourself every 3 days for the rest of your life, don’t expect the wraps to do all the work of weight loss for you.
I saw some wrapreneurs claim that the wraps and their ingredients cause lipolysis, which is essentially the destruction of fats in the body. They also claim that this happens by osmosis. What?
My issue with this claim is that nothing – short of hormones, injections of certain chemicals aka lipolytics, or liposuction – destroys fat like this. Like a lot of other diet programs I’ve reviewed, important-sounding science words are fed to unsuspecting ‘coaches’ and salespeople to help bolster their sales pitch, but the concepts aren’t sound.
Botanicals do not release fat from cells. If they did, people wouldn’t be going around paying thousands of dollars to get stuck by needles or surgeon’s knives to get rid of their fat. It would be the easiest way in the world to lose fat, control diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, and improve a lot of peoples’ lives. Unfortunately, this isn’t reality. Nothing incredible is happening with these wraps (except for the fact that people are actually buying them).
Is there evidence that wraps increase the absorption of active ingredients? I suppose holding moisturizer onto your skin for a certain length of time helps the ingredients absorb, but the bottom line is that if the ingredients aren’t effective in the way that you think they’re going to be (ie – to help you lose inches and cellulite), it doesn’t matter if you wrap them on, bathe in them, or pour them over your head. All you’re getting here is moisturizer with temporary skin tightening.
I’ve seen so many of these ‘greens’ products in other diet programs. To It Works’! credit, they don’t recommend the ($55 for 30 days’ worth) Greens™ as a substitute for whole foods. Looking at the label and ingredients, the only standout in this product is the probiotic, which you can buy on its own at the drugstore (or eat in food). Otherwise? None of the active ingredients are proven to do anything that whole foods can’t do. Don’t waste your money – use it to buy fruits and vegetables!
Ultimate ThermoFit™ also seems really familiar. All of these diet programs should just consolidate their efforts because they all seem to put out the same crap.
Ultimate ThermoFit™ claims to use hot peppers to boost metabolic rate, increase calorie burning, and provide you with antioxidants.
As far as weight loss from capsaicin (hot peppers), this meta analysis of human studies shows that the effects are minor. And by minor, I mean something like a 2.6kg loss over 8 years.
You do increase your metabolic rate by eating a really spicy meal, but the effect is temporary and small. Studies (and here among many others) also show that eating hot pepper (in fairly large amounts), not taking it in capsule form, can reduce appetite and cravings basically by giving you a stomach ache.
No food increases your metabolic rate so much that you’re going to lose a perceptible amount of weight. Believe me – if a miraculous weight-loss food that burns fat and significantly spikes your metabolism is discovered, I’ll let you know ASAP!
Botanicals don’t pull fat out of fat cells or destroy fat cells. You need to do that with in a dermatologist’s office with liposuction or needles that inject chemicals into the fatty deposits in your body.
No food, supplements, or herbs burn fat. Some may speed up your metabolic rate slightly, but the effect is temporary and not enough to make a significant difference in your weight.
By the same token, nothing detoxifies you except your own organs. Isn’t nature wonderful? Don’t buy into detox bullshit.
Wraps may work to help reduce the appearance of cellulite and tighten skin but only temporarily. If you want lasting results using wraps, you’ll have to wrap yourself every 3 days for the rest of your life. Sounds like fun! Just kidding. It sounds expensive and shitty.
Greens products as a rule do contain great antioxidants, but they tend to be expensive, and don’t contain the other beneficial things – like fiber, for example – that whole fruits and vegetables have. Eat food first.
Don’t be swayed by scientific mumbo jumbo – especially coming from ‘coaches’, ‘wrapreneurs’, or anyone selling a product using MLM. They are just being spoonfed BS by a company, which they’re regurgitating to you, usually without truly understanding how to interpret research, or anything about human physiology. They make everything sound like it makes sense, and they probably truly believe that it does…but in reality, it’s mostly twisted junk science.
Just because someone is an ‘MD’ doesn’t mean what they’re selling is credible, safe, and healthy. This guy, for all intents and purposes, isn’t a doctor beyond graduating from med school years ago. And doctors who sell themselves as ‘nutritionists’? Beware of them. They tend to be the worst offenders when it comes to peddling absolute malarkey.
The Bottom Line?
No. Please don’t spend your hard-earned money on this stuff. Eat well and move your body, as boring as that sounds. It Works! is not the miracle you hope it is.
The Ultimate Body Applicator™ contains (in normal terms):
Jojoba oil: may improve skin’s appearance, much like the $3 jojoba skin cream you can get at the drugstore.
Rosemary leaf extract: may improve skin circulation (no credible research).
Horse chestnut:may be effective in the short-term for chronic venous insufficiency.
Green tea extract:Shown to be an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and sunscreen when applied topically, but only when the product contains enough of this ingredient.
Horsetail leaf extract: Used for minor wounds and burns, scientific evidence is lacking.
Bladderwrack extract:May have some cellulite-reducing properties when combined with other ingredients (are these ingredients in It Works! ?
English ivy: Shown to be anti-inflammatory in mice. You are not a mouse. There was a study done with this ingredient and others in an anti-cellulite gel that had good results, but 1. It was sponsored by the cellulite gel maker and 2. Information about ingredients/amounts were lacking.
Guarana: This plant has a ton of caffeine in it, which can cause vasoconstriction and diuresis when applied to the skin. This mean your skin may feel tighter and the appearance of cellulite may be reduced, but only temporarily.
Butcher’s broom extract: This herb has been studied for circulatory and diuretic purposes in rats, but only taken orally and not rubbed on the skin (topically). It does great things for rat paws though, just in case you’re interested!
Sunflower seed oil: a skin conditioning agent.